Curundu Memories

A collection of memories and Stories

From Warren Kirbo:

Across from the PAD (pacific aerial depot) was Curundu Housing area...I lived in 502 which was a bit north of the convenience store mini PX we refered to it as The PAD as well ... across from 502 was a little league field (with no facilities) the mothers hated that. Facing Albrook, to the right was a wide sweeping curve and an elementary school with a "domed" building, we used to play volleyball in the gym there. The houses in Curundu were pretty good ... four apartment units in the typical off the gound tropic style. Two DOD employee workers shared the building with me and a Lt Hernandez. Next door a pilot for the red and white helicopters of the Aviation Unit, Carl Stutesman 9sp?) resided. He was TDY and gone most of the time to strange and exotic places. That unit supported not only the command but the Inter-American Geodesic Survey (mapping) who's patch (re: my other email today....) was a Central and South America in yellow, and a compass rose, on a light blue triangular background, all this inside a yellow circle, with the spaces between the circle and triangle being red, white and blue, on the circle was inscribed (my espinach is pretty bad, guys...) SERVICIO GEODESICO INTERAMERICANO in black letters .. all this was topped by a red and black CORPS OF ENGINEERS CASTLE OLD CURUNDU was a few dozen two story wood and screen with tin roofed buildings and a PX Theater and Barber shop, on the albrook side of the road that connected the back gates of Ft Clayton and Albrook. I lived there too, for about six months. We were mixed in with several civillian families in that area which was adjacent to the hill at the end of the Albrook runway. I hacked my way through the high grass there and used it as the observatory for my four inch telescope.

From Bill Ormsbee:

The major unit/activity I recall being in the PAD Area was DMA-IAGS (Defense Mapping Agency). I don't recall if there were other units before 1970s. Of course, the Army's 210th Aviation Battalion (which had previous designations) was in the area, but that part was known as Albrook Army Airfield until 1 October 1979 when the unit moved its helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft to Howard and unit offices to Kobbe. But, if you want to go way back, the whole area was part of the Curundu Military Reservation.

From Midge England:

The Astrodomed school in Curundu was Curundu Junior High School when I was there in the late 60's and was still the same a couple years ago. The geodesic dome was the cafeteria and auditorium. I also remember "Hollywood" next to the Curundu gate. It left a lasting impression.

From Dale Cockle:

I disagree with the name Pacific Air Depot for PAD. It was Panama Air Depot that served all USAF activities in Central and South America. IAGS had some of its operations at PAD too. I saw PAD last May -- pretty run down. Some old PRR gear was abandoned there too to include a locomotive (901 as I recall).